Toyota World Rally Championship driver Kris Meeke has lost his eighth place at Rally Chile after being hit with a one-minute penalty for removing his windscreen in a time control.
Meeke rolled his Toyota Yaris WRC on Saturday’s first stage and was forced to remove the screen, fearing the glass would come into the car and injure him and co-driver Seb Marshall on the next stage.
The stewards’ decision stated: “The crew removed their smashed windscreen in the control area between TC8 (Time Control 8) and start SS8.”
That contravened article 42.1.2 of the FIA WRC sporting regulations. The decision is a one minute time penalty that dropped Meeke to 10th place.
“We were working inside a control. You’re not allowed to work inside the control. OK, that’s the rule,” Meeke told Autosport.
“But were we trying to take an advantage? Did I want to do the stage without a windscreen? No.
“There was an eight-minute delay in the control. I was sat there with my helmet on ready to go when the bonding on the screen started to give way. The screen started to fall down towards me.
“I said: ‘No, we can’t do the stage. We retire’.
“The fragments of glass were starting to come into the car and I could have lost my eyesight – we had no goggles in the car.
“The only option was to pull the screen out. Now, do you apply the letter of the law or do you look at the circumstances? How the fuck do they do this?
“Was I was adjusting the tyre pressure because I forgot to do them or something like that? No. Was I trying to gain an advantage? No.”
Meeke argued that the decision to penalise him went against the FIA’s push for greater safety in rallying.
“All this bullshit about FIA road safety, FIA safety this and safety that… What did we see in Argentina with those spectators?” he added.
“The image of [Esapekka] Lappi coming around and banging the bank in front of those spectators… and then when safety comes into the equation: ah fuck them – penalty!
“I get a penalty for trying to make the car safe… They’re all on for action for road safety, but when you make the car safe it gets you a fucking penalty! How’s that?
“What do they want me to do? Lose my eyesight?”